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Lord Currie warns on roll-out fixation
Wednesday 18 February 2004 18:42:00 by Andrew Ferguson

Lord Currie the chairman of Ofcom has been speaking at a Communication Management Association conference in London this week. Details are over at VNUnet.

Lord Currie warns of the danger of becoming "fixated on [ADSL] roll-out" and it appears that his concern is that this is proving to be at the expense of other technologies. Though in other surveys of people working in the IT industry the wide-spread availability is key. One danger is that the UK is too dependent on ADSL from a single source, i.e. BT Wholesale. xDSL based services have plenty to offer as can be seen in countries like Japan, but it seems the high speed variants are going to need smaller faster reacting companies to deploy them. Also the availability is likely to be patchy, similar to the 10Mbps and faster services of other countries.

The emerging wireless broadband industry has much potential, but a lot of the roll-out is simply 802.11b kit tacked onto the end of a 2Mbps leased line which is likely to seem as out of date. There is lots of talk of faster chip-sets for various broadband technologies, but not many that look likely to be deployed in the UK in the next 12 months and very few that are going to bring 10Mbps at an affordable price for consumers.

If the UK is to avoid the problem of still having 0.5Mbps as the standard broadband service in 5 years time, then BTs competitors need to start a moving in 2004 with at least trials of what will be the popular technologies in five years time, and more importantly are being rolled out in other countries. One would hope that companies are forward thinking enough to actually consider the advantages product wise that a greater than 2Mbps connection offers, e.g. the triple play of broadcast quality video, telephony and Internet access.


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